An international chemical firm, Tata Chemicals Europe Ltd, has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for multiple incidents which put them in breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations SI 1995/3163.
Chester Crown Court heard of three incidents involving safety at Tata Chemicals in 2010. The first incident involved an employee who suffered severe burns when their right foot fell through a missing part of metal grating which exposed them to a toxic liquid at temperatures of 95°C.
The second incident happened six months after, when a dangerous gas was released resulting in high levels of carbon monoxide in the area of the plant where employees were working. Investigations found that employees didn't have enough practical training for the activity which caused the gas leak and the emergency procedures were inadequate.
Then, in November 2010, a worker was injured when part of the gantry they were walking along gave way due to corrosion. When the HSE inspector visited the factory, they discovered the company had failed to report another part of the grating on the same walkway collapsing two days before the incident.
Tata Chemicals Europe Ltd was fined a total of £100,750 for six offences and was ordered to pay £71,082 in costs.
HSE inspector Gill Chambers said, “A company the size of Tata Chemicals should never have allowed these incidents to occur, and the lives of its workers were put at risk as a result. The general conditions we found at the plant were extremely poor. Some of the gantries were in desperate need of repair after becoming badly corroded and the practical training for staff was also inadequate, meaning they did not take appropriate measures in emergency situations.
“The chemical industry has the potential to be extremely dangerous so it’s vital that firms like Tata Chemicals make health and safety their top priority. Unfortunately, the company fell way below acceptable standards on multiple occasions.”